Mucormycosis of the hard palate masquerading as carcinoma

  • Bhari Sharanesha Manjunatha | drmanju26@hotmail.com Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, K.M. Shah Dental College & Hospital, India.
  • Nagarajappa Das Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, SJM Dental College and Hospital, India.
  • Rakesh V. Sutariya Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, K.M. Shah Dental College & Hospital, India.
  • Tanveer Ahmed Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, SJM Dental College and Hospital, India.

Abstract

A growing number of medically compromised patients are encountered by dentists in their practices. Opportunistic fungal infections such as mucormycosis usually occur in immunocompromised patients but can infect healthy individuals as well. Mucormycosis is an acute opportunistic, uncommon, frequently fatal fungal infection, caused by a saprophytic fungus that belongs to the class of phycomycetes. Among the clinical differential diagnosis we can consider squamous cell carcinoma. Such cases present as chronic ulcers with raised margins causing exposure of underlying bone. There is a close histopathological resemblance between mucormycosis and aspergillosis. Microscopically, aspergillosis has septate branching hyphae, which can be distinguished from mucormycotic hyphae by a smaller width and prominent acute angulations of branching hyphae. A definitive diagnosis of mucormycosis can be made by tissue biopsy that identifies the characteristic hyphae, by positive culture or both. The culture of diseased tissue may be negative and histopathologic examination is essential for early diagnosis. Mucormycosis was long regarded as a fatal infection with poor prognosis. However with early medical and surgical management survival rates are now thought to exceed 80%. In the present case, the fungus was identified by hematoxylin and eosin stain and confirmed by Grocott’s silver methenamine special staining technique. Removal of the necrotic bone, which acted as a nidus of infection, was done. Post-operatively patient was advised an obturator to prevent oronasal regurgitation. Since mucormycosis occurs infrequently, it may pose a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma for those who are not familiar with its clinical presentation.

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Author Biographies

Bhari Sharanesha Manjunatha, Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, K.M. Shah Dental College & Hospital

Associate Professor

Rakesh V. Sutariya, Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, K.M. Shah Dental College & Hospital
Post-Graduate
Published
2012-02-15
Section
Case Reports
Keywords:
fungal infection, mucormycosis, necrotic bone, phycomycetes, squamous cell carcinoma.
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How to Cite
Manjunatha, B. S., Das, N., Sutariya, R., & Ahmed, T. (2012). Mucormycosis of the hard palate masquerading as carcinoma. Clinics and Practice, 2(1), e28. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2012.e28